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Muir primed for Black Sticks debut against Korea

Published: 9:23PM Wednesday April 24, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

  • George Muir in action for Harbour (Source: Photosport)
    George Muir in action for Harbour - Source: Photosport

Several familiar faces and one debutant have been named in a strengthened Black Sticks Men's squad ahead of next month's test series against Korea in Auckland.

The six-game series will be played from May 14-22, with two games at Rangitoto College, two at the Southern Hockey Turf in Papatoetoe and two at Counties Manukau.

Head coach Colin Batch today named his 23-man squad with five additional players joining the squad of 18 that played at the Azlan Shah Cup in March.

London Olympians Phil Burrows, Shea McAleese and Nick Haig return to the side, along with young guns James Coughlan and George Muir.

Batch said the Tests against Korea are a chance to continue the growth of the Kiwi side, with selections under the microscope for the World League semi-finals in June.

"We've named a squad of 23 and plan to use all those players across the six games, before finalising selection for the World League semi-finals," said Batch. "It's a continuation of developing the squad from Azlan Shah and keeping that momentum going."

North Harbour's George Muir is the only debutant in the squad and will earn his first international cap during the series.

"George has been performing well for the Junior Black Sticks, has trained well with the group and deserves his opportunity," Batch said.

"He connects well with players, and has good vision and awareness. What I like about his game is that he keeps it simple and plays his role very well."

The 19-year-old will be the second Black Stick to come out of Rosmini College on Auckland's North Shore - behind Dave Kosoof's 149 caps - and is excited at the prospect of his first game for New Zealand in front of a home crowd.

"My feelings at the moment are just excitement for my first Test," said Muir. "It's going to be cool to play at home in front of friends and family.

"I've been working really hard on my game, but you never expect to hear your name come up. It was one of my goals to play in this series and I'm really honoured to have been given the chance."

Black Sticks: James Coughlan (North Harbour), Cory Bennett (North Harbour), Nick Haig (Canterbury), Andy Hayward (Midlands), Nick Ross (Midlands), Dean Couzins (Auckland), Blair Hilton (Capital), Isaac Staples (Canterbury), Jacob Smith (Capital), Marcus Child (Auckland), Jared Panchia (Auckland), Hamish McGregor(Southern), Phil Burrows (Auckland), Alex Shaw (Auckland), Devon Manchester (Auckland), Kane Russell (Southern), Blair Tarrant (Southern), Shay Neal (Northland), Arun Panchia (Auckland), Shea McAleese (Central), Stephen Jenness (Capital), Hugo Inglis (Southern), George Muir (North Harbour)